Friday, August 14, 2015

Dark Rising: Book Two of the Archangel Prophecies by Monica McGurk Review

Disclosure: I received this book from the author to facilitate a review. It is a sponsored post but all opinions are 100% honest and my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Almost a year ago I got the chance to delve back into my love of teen fiction books with a review of Monica McGurk's first Archangels Prophecy book, Dark Hope. The interesting page turner left me wanting to read more and I was excited when McGurk sent me a copy of the second book in the trilogy called Dark Rising. In case you missed it, check out my review of Dark Hope here.

Can one person upend a prophecy as old as time?
Hope Carmichael is on the run. The only question is, from whom? The mark on her neck has branded her as part of an ancient prophecy, the Bearer of the Key. But the Fallen Angels have misunderstood and think Hope is their long-awaited way to regain Heaven by force. Now Hope is chasing down the artifact that could open Heaven’s Gates, while seeking to destroy it before the Fallen catch up with her. Will the Triad crime ring track Hope and exact their punishment before she gets the chance? Is the ragtag band of angels surrounding her now there to protect her, or imprison her? And will Michael, the Archangel sworn to defend Heaven at all costs, be forced to deny his love for Hope and take her life, instead, so that the artifact won’t fall into enemy hands? 

The epic narrative introduced in Dark Hope continues in Dark Rising as Hope crisscrosses some of the most ancient sites in Europe and plumbs the depths of history in search of the truth about the Key, herself, and love. Exploring themes of identity, fate, jealousy, trust, and forgiveness, Dark Rising’s mythological scope and moral urgency deepen as we come to understand the choices and consequences faced by a young woman determined to follow her heart and chart her own destiny.

While Dark Hope focuses mainly on the issues of human trafficking, Dark Rising moves on to Hope and Michael's journey to find the key that will prevent the Fallen Angels from forcing their way into Heaven. Readers join Hope and Michael on their quest in Istanbul and learn more and more about the prophecy as they travel through Europe getting ever closer to the key. Although I found Dark Hope to be a quick page turner, Dark Rising was a bit harder for me to get into. McGurk's focus on architectural details especially in the first half of the book were a bit distracting for me. They were interesting but the pace of the first half was slower than the second and I found myself putting it down several times. Thankfully I kept reading because I was drawn in with several moments towards the middle of the book. Hope's experience in the public baths was fascinating and despite a noticeable absence of the human trafficking story that was the focus of the first book, there was a haunting scene where it is touched on with Hope facing danger that no person should ever have to deal with.

Hope and Michael's relationship is under strain throughout the entire first half of the book and Hope's teenage angst and risk taking may bother some adult readers. While her actions were not always the smartest choice, I think McGurk writes her teenage character well. Hope tries, not always successfully, to deal with her emotions, confidence levels, and relationships to the best of her young ability. As she figures out more and more about the prophecy throughout the second half of the book, I was drawn in. Hope is pushed to her limit and as a reader, I cried as I read the ending. McGurk writes the emotions of this book beautifully and I felt Hope's struggles as if they were my own. While I had a little trouble piecing together every piece of the puzzle that is the prophecy, I appreciated all of the Scriptural and historical details. The ending left us with a huge cliffhanger that I must admit I was not happy with. Not because it was a bad ending by any means, I just didn't want the book to stop! Luckily, the first chapter of the 3rd book, Dark Before Dawn, is included and gave me some hope for the characters.

I highly recommend reading Dark Hope before diving into Dark Rising. While some explanation is given regarding the characters' histories, I think a reader would be lost without knowing the stories from the first book. I gave a warning in my first review that a parent should read this book before giving it to their teen and I give the same advice with Dark Rising. These books address deep themes that might be a bit mature for young teens. The discussion questions in the back would be perfect for an older teen book club.

I will definitely be reading Dark Before Dawn when it is released in 2016. To learn more about Dark Rising, check out Monica McGurk's website and social media pages:

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